Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Religion should stay out of abortion issue

January 26, 2001

Once again the winds are fanning the flames of the abortion debate with the newly selected president’s decision to keep federal money out of the pockets of abortion-supporting organizations. Plus, just to add gasoline to the fire, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade was this week.

Not that the issue ever died or was in danger of dying out - ever since abortions became legal, people have had plenty to say about it. Whether it has been, abortion clinic bombings, the killings of doctors who perform abortions or the RU-486 pill, abortion has been a hot topic that provokes even the most mild-mannered people into a passionate frenzy - with liberal women’s rights activists on one side, fuming at the thought of our male-dominated government, or any government, regulating women’s bodies. Then on the other hand, you have the Bible-touting conservatives quoting scriptures and claiming abortion is just murder dressed up as women’s rights.

Yet, it is perplexingly ironic that many of those conservatives use the same Bible to justify capital punishment. I guess they think it is only fair we wait until people are all grown up before we decide whether it is justifiable to kill them.

Do not mistake me. It is not the Bible I have qualms with, but those who twist the Bible or any other religious texts’ words for whatever issue they happen to be supporting.

I know Martin Luther King Jr. often quoted scriptures when he fought for civil rights, but King was a minister and an activist, not a politician. Most importantly, King’s greatest argument for civil liberties for all citizens did not come out of the Bible, but out of the Constitution.

Moreover, it seems the ramifications of religion converging into politics can do a lot more evil than it can do good, such as when southern slave-owners used Biblical scriptures to defend slavery. In addition, religious works should not be referred to in political debates, at least not in the United States, since we have this belief expressed in the Constitution that calls for the separation of church and state.

I know the Bible provides some good material for those who want to induce Christian morals into legislation, because they believe school prayer will keep kids from shooting each other in school. But I am willing to take that risk in order to safeguard against tyranny. Once again, I want to make it perfectly clear that I’m not trying to belittle Christianity, but I believe politics and religion should never lie in the same bed, because politicians seem to have a way of manipulating religion for their own political gain.

Yet when it comes to abortion, even with the withdrawal of the religious factor, the issue is still very complex because abortion still remains a multifaceted issue on one gigantic body. There is one face on the right protesting the rights of the unborn, another face in the middle whispering that abortion is only OK in cases of incest, rape and when a woman’s life is in danger, and yet another face on the left chanting for a woman’s right to control her own body.

And I find myself listening to the last voice.

If abortion goes against your ethical, religious or personal values, then don’t have one. But at the same time, you need to realize others may not have the same values as you and should not have those values forced on them. Furthermore, after all the protesters - both pro- and anti-abortion - chant their last slogan and put away their signs, it comes down to only one woman having that baby, and most likely, with the way things are going in our society, only one woman raising that baby. Therefore, she should be the only one deciding if abortion is right for her.

Whether you support abortion, the fact of the matter is that outlawing abortion is not going to stop a lot of women from turning to other means as a way of terminating an unwanted pregnancy, and we all know how dangerous those other means can be.

This leads me to categorize abortion as a health issue and support it as a means for those who wish to end a pregnancy to do so in a way that is safe to their physical well-being.

Even though my own personal beliefs would never allow me to have an abortion, I would never try to take that option away from someone else.

Ashley Bell, a journalism freshman, can be reached at bellash1@msu.edu.

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